Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #54

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as ever by Wil Schroder startups dot com. Ceo and founder, well today we are going to talk about something that I think plagues a lot of founders. You and I have certainly not been immune to this. And that's this notion of pacing and not sprinting, right? That we don't necessarily have to just run full speed all the time every day of our lives. I mean if we do, we just end up with a lot shorter lives, but there's a lot of other downsides to it too. Right?

Wil Schroter: It reminds me I always have this, this kind of like a metaphor in my head I guess or parable. You and I are standing at a campfire and the bear shows up and it's about to attack and you're like, well in order to get out of this, I don't want you to sprint. I want you to run at a leisurely pace because we just have to wear this bear down. Are you kidding me? Like I'm out of here. I'm gonna sprint as fast as possible. It's kind of hard

Ryan Rutan: to outrun the bear actually. You just have to outrun me, right?

Wil Schroter: Yeah, exactly. I love that. I mean, it's kind of hard to tell founders to not sprint any of us. I mean Ryan you and I are inclusive, right to not sprint at the same time where we're terrified. We're running from things like debt and everything else and towards things like every dream we've ever had. Right? So it sounds absurd when we're delivering this information. Yet at the same time, it's probably the best information we can tell most founders, by the way, including ourselves, you know what I mean? So I think this topic, you know, we were talking about the idea of pacing yourself for the long run. I think we need to talk about how long these things actually take. I think we need to talk about what pacing yourself looks like. It doesn't mean slowing down per se. It means finding a pace you can maintain and really what happens when you don't, I think all of those things, What do you think?

Ryan Rutan: No, I think so, yeah. And it's super critical, right? I mean, we, we see this oftentimes, you know, the earlier stage founders suffer from this even more, but it's not limited early stage founders either. We still see this a lot across the board. But the reason I find it so striking at the early stages because there's an easy justification for it. And I think it's a dangerous trap to fall into the easy justification is, well, there's a lot to be done right now. It's the early stage, I have to grind. I have to use extra energy. And that's absolutely true. Here's the other thing that's true that they forget about. You have no idea what the hell you're doing at that early stage, Right? So you're spending energy that you have no idea what the return on it is. So it ends up being this throw spaghetti at the wall type approach and I would say I would love to see more early stage founders spend a little more time thinking about what they're going to do and then just kind of running around like chickens with their heads cut off now, easier said than done. But there is a real balance that has to be struck there between just spending energy and, and kicking up a bunch of dust because if at the end of the day the dust settles, nothing has changed for the positive. What did you spend that energy on in the first place?

Wil Schroter: Here's the best way to think about it. Like take year one when you're up all night, you're killing yourself. You're just stressed about everything because to be fair, everything's broken. You're one of a startup, doesn't involve us, just come into the office, filling up our coffee, hanging out and just kind of seeing how things are going. Like that's what you do at a regular job when some other poor bastard has already had to figure all this stuff out decades ago and you have the benefit of working at their company where things, you know, things have been figured out working at a startup, obviously you show up everything's total chaos. It's nothing but fires and you're constantly in a high stress mode. Okay, so if that's the baseline, the problem is especially if this is your first time out, I know this is, this is the way for me and probably for you. Ryan, it's just your first time out. Your instinct is gonna be to run as hard as you can. After every single problem, you're gonna exert all of your energy, you're gonna go, no, no, this, this deal fell through. You know, we have to go four alarm fire to, you know, be able to attack this thing, whatever and there's an appropriate measure of that. The point is, how long can you keep doing that? How long can you stay at maximum alert mode? The problem for first time founders, This is mostly first time founders but not exclusive to them is that you haven't been doing this long enough to know that you can't keep this pace up. That startups take 7-10 years to mature. Now there's a couple of points of that scale right now, I'll point out point number one is 7 to 10 years, average life span it takes for like a venture funded company to make it to a public market your googles Facebooks and those are the fastest growing companies in history. Seven and 10 years is also another metric for an average company. Just to not fail right? Just to get to a point where it's got enough revenue coming in that it that it's not failing either way. It's not three years. I mean, yes, companies have done it, but that's generally not the way it goes, right. You know, there's people who make it into the NFL after a year or two of college, that's generally not how it works, right, if you make it here at all.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. So interestingly enough, will I? I delivered some of this advice last night, but in a very different context. I took my brother in law with me to jujitsu practice for the first time he had never done. And as we're driving over there, I'm telling him, look, I'm going to give you this advice. You're probably not going to follow it. But when we get to the end of the end of the evening, there'll be an opportunity to roll, which is what we call the sparring that we do in jiu jitsu. And I told him that like when we get to the rolling portion, you're going to expend a ton of energy and I want you to not do that. I want you to stay calm. I want you to know because you don't know what you're doing. You're gonna have no techniques. So literally everything you do is probably gonna be mostly a waste of energy. Just try to survive and invariably everybody is the same thing right, they get out, they're going up against somebody who has, you know, significantly more knowledge than they do, which is to say any at all. And in 30 seconds he had rised around and strained and stressed himself out to the point where he had zero energy left. And then it becomes very, very easy to just give up, right. And it's exactly the same thing that happens in a startup, right? We expend all that energy and then we assume that all of this is impossible and it's only impossible because of the pace at which we tried to approach it right. If he had just held on and just calm himself down a little bit and not just tried to exert a bunch of energy and use power and use strength and just held on and just survived. He would have lasted a lot longer. Right? And the same thing is true in the startup context that in that early stage when we don't really know where we're going to get the best returns on our energy, simply just pouring all of your energy into it without any outcomes without any real real destination in mind doesn't end any better. Right? And you end up burning out prematurely. Um, and had you just taken a more slow approach to it. You know, you, you may not have, you know, gotten as many learnings as fast, but you might still be in the game to play right. If you gas yourself out early, you don't get the benefit of the second half, you don't get a second wind, you're just gone,

Wil Schroter: well, let's let's stick with that rain, you need a second wind. I think that's the part that folks just don't realize because again, they haven't done it before, it would be the equivalent of your running this marathon. And then about halfway into the marathon, when you think you're about to hit the finish line, people are like, great, you're at lap one of four. Wait

Ryan Rutan: what?

Wil Schroter: Like I'm barely crawling against the food. I got three more laps to go of all what I just did. And so the first thing that challenges folks. Yes, your ones chaotic. Yes, Year one, you're probably gonna burn, you know, a lot more cycles than normally would through at any other point in this journey. However, by the end of year one, let's just use that as a mile marker by the end of year one. If you don't try to find your pace or go dial it down a little bit, that could be an hours, it could be lost sleep, it could be your health. It could be, I mean a boy, the list goes on right. There's a lot of places really start to get winded. If you don't dial things down or find a healthier track to catch pace, you're not going to be around long enough to see this through. And Ryan, that's the part that people miss, You have to be in it for the long, long, long haul, way longer than you think it is in order to make all the effort you're putting in right now, ever pay off again to stick with my little marathon analogy, Ryan, if your goal is to win the race, but you're passed out unconscious by the end of the first lap. What was the point? I think?

Ryan Rutan: Well, I think to your point, a lot of founders don't know that that's the type of race that they're in, they didn't realize that they're running a marathon. And so I think that in order to win a game of any sort, you have to understand the rules of the game, you have to understand all of the constraints in the game. And I think a lot of them missed that and we've talked about this before in a different context in terms of goal setting, certainly we've covered off on that. But even just in celebrating the little winds, I think that one of the things that can allow you to more appropriately pace yourself Is if you look for victories that aren't the end of the marathon, right? If it's just start running now and stop running 7 to 10 years from now, it's not very motivational. So like if the first time you ever go jogging, you know, you're starting a marathon from that day forward, it's pretty de motivational, right? So I would say that being able to appropriately pick points in the future appropriately pick goals targets that are reachable in a short period of time and we've definitely talked about this before. The fact that we plan and week long sprints that, you know, our, our horizons are never more than a quarter out in terms of like what we're really thinking about accomplishing and we break that down into a weekly and daily activities that allows you to understand how to pace yourself. There are periods in this race that are like the 100 m dash, but you've got to know when those are, you can't run the 100 m dash for the duration of a marathon. There are periods of time where a specific goal that you need to hit might require picking up the pace, but you have to understand that and you you have to be aware that that too has a cost and then once you're done with that, you have to slow down a little bit right. And I think those things work together in a couple of ways. one, it makes it easier to understand how to expend the energy and two, if you're appropriately setting short term goals, you feel good about hitting them, right? You get that energy boost right? That's where that second wind can come from. If you just still not accomplishing anything. I think one, you lose motivation and to you feel like you have to keep running

Wil Schroter: right? You also have this broken mechanism in your head that believes that if you solve this problem, there won't be a next one just as big

Ryan Rutan: around the corner,

Wil Schroter: right?

Ryan Rutan: Imagine I'm just picturing, I'm picturing 100 m hurdle where you can only see one hurdle at a time and they just keep popping up right in front of you, like yeah, that's not how it works.

Wil Schroter: You know, in the early days when I was doing, you know, my first startups, I would come home and my wife and tell her about, you know what I was working on in the early days, every day I came home was the largest crisis that had ever happened. It was clear the decks, uh sorry, you won't see me for a while. I'm gonna be holed up in my office, you know, at home, whatever, this is the biggest fire of all time. And, and in my mind, it was because in my mind that person that just left or that deal that we just lost or that product that just didn't ship was the most important thing that could possibly happen. If I could go so far as to solve that one problem, I'd finally be on the other side of things. So that was early years and my wife had the benefit of kind of seeing this, this whole thing play out in the more recent years, like when we did start ups dot com, I would bring home the same problems sometimes bigger and I would be like, yep, this happened and she's like, well, you know, you don't seem that broken up, but it could have been a big, pretty big problems, like, nope, it's an enormous problem. It's an apocalyptic problem. She's like, again, you don't seem that upset about it. I said, because it doesn't matter, like I'll solve it. I've solved a million these problems before. It'll be totally annoying. It'll, you know, lose some sleep over it, I guess. But next week, the week after the month after the quarter after, and next year, there will just be another version of it. The problem is always the same. It just gets a different name. There's no version where I stop problems from happening and I think there's probably a whole podcast on that too.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, and it's absolutely true right there. They're always going to be there. And so and going back to the pacing. If you do allow yourself to get worked up, if you do start to run after every single problem, regardless of how fast you solve them, they're still going to come and you're just gonna run out of energy to solve them at all. Right? I think that, you know, we can we turn to boxing here jujitsu or any sport you really want to. The pacing is so important because if you punch yourself out, you run yourself ragged at some point, those who are pacing themselves are gonna run right past you or the other guy's gonna start throwing punches and landing them because you can no longer keep your hands up, right? You've got to keep yourself in a position in a condition to deal with the unknown. I think this is where pacing is is maybe a little less obvious, but if you constantly sprint after the things that you do see and the things you know, you need to accomplish, it leaves, you know, extra gas in the tank for the things that you don't see coming. And I think you and I can agree that it's more often the ones that we weren't anticipating that end up taking more effort, more energy, more time than the stuff we knew we had to solve, right. Those tend to be more obvious and they tend to be things that other people have dealt with and there's proxy and there's lots of ways to lean on somebody else to solve those things. The ones where you really end up having to sprint and run hard are the ones you didn't see coming in the first place.

Wil Schroter: Right? And I think, you know, you touched on something, we keep making reference to like these physical sports analogies. And I think we say that because we know that everyone can understand being winded, the problem that we run into in the workplace is it's not quite the same type of winded, right? We're losing sleep, we're losing health, we're losing, you know, some emotional wellness, etcetera, but it doesn't show up. Like I can't breathe anymore by the way later, it does remember. But here's the challenge. If we do a hard sprint, right? And I'd say, you know, we did 100 hour week. And we mentioned that another episode when we bought a company called virtual, uh, it was a, it was a four alarm fire type situation and, and we basically stayed up for a month, which is exactly what needed to be done. There was no other answer to that problem. I'm convinced of that, right? However, at the end of that sprint, we know we've got to reset if what we do and I can say this because I've done it for decades and it was a terrible idea if what we do at the end of that, Sprint says, guess what we can fix that sprint with is another sprint in another, in another, in another. There's no version where in the end that pays off now there's a ton of people that will say not true. They'll say that's exactly how startup companies get built. It's just endless sprints until you finally get it there. And I would agree that that's how you can get them there for a while. I agree that that's how you can win the race for a while, but long, long, long term. And I'm only talking like 57, 10 years tops in the grand scheme of life. That's not that long. You can't keep it up that long without paying for it in some horrible way. And I'm talking about mental health, physical health, etcetera. And as you get even a little bit older, those things really start to matter.

Ryan Rutan: Oh, it does. I found a super cool way to recharge after the whole sexual thing. You know, after not sleeping for that month, we had a newborn. That was a cool way to put a bow on that and almost kill me. There's two other things that you're right. So there's two other things I want to talk about in terms of pacing and you talked about in terms of being winded and being fatigued. I think there's two other dangers, improper pacing and the first one is when you're moving really fast, imagine walking down the high street versus driving down the high

Wil Schroter: street.

Ryan Rutan: The things that you notice are entirely different. The amount of context, the amount of information, the amount of experience that you get when you're moving at a walking pace versus speeding, totally different. You miss out on things because you lack the context, you might miss an angle, you might miss an opportunity because you're so focused and kind of heads down and running the second one is related to that, and it's when you lack that perspective, you can often end up just running the wrong direction, so that speed can actually lead you to miss your turn right. And so it's not just about being winded, You might have the energy to do it, But so for example, yesterday, in addition to jiu jitsu, I decided to torture myself and play squash for the first time ever against somebody who really knew what they were doing. And he had me running all over the court and one of things that's happened to me is like I was over committing, I was trying to anticipate and be where I thought I needed to be. Well, it turns out he was way better at understanding what I was thinking. Then I thought he knew what he was thinking about. My anticipation was terrible. And so I kept running myself out of position and he kept trying to tell me stay in the middle of the court, stay in the middle of the court. And yet I kept going to where I thought he was going to play the ball and trying to be, you know, johnny hero and just use energy and effort to get somewhere I needed to be and I just kept ending up in the wrong place. And so it wasn't that I was out of energy, I just ran so fast in the wrong direction that I ended up out of position when it was time to make the play and the same thing can happen in a startup company.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, right. I think what happens man is for startups, let's say we're doing a sprint and we're heading toward v one of our product launch, right? And we're gonna spend the next 3 to 4 months just going heads down, working insane hours, etcetera, totally fine. Okay. And just, just so we're saying the same thing, it's probably appropriate. It's probably the best use of time. We're not talking about anti sprint, we specifically say that startups dot com, we operate in sprints like we were operating five day sprints, the big differences, we don't try to sprint marathons and I think that's what founders don't understand. I don't think founders understand that you can't keep that pace up forever. So if we're going to do a three or a four month sprint, we know going into it, that we're gonna need a little bit of downtime to cycle down and to your point, learn, watch what happened right before we jump into kind of the next move. Of course the roof is burning while we're trying to build the house, right? We know we're we're running out of money or we're trying to get funding or whatever that's happening. That's trying to prevent us from moving forward. We're trying to short circuit that and I get that, but we're not going to be able to keep that pace unless we say, okay, at the end of this product launch, let's focus on a few things where we can dial down just a little bit right, catch our breath, get some sleep, get some whatever, man. Just dialing that into our program and our planning changes everything because then we're fit enough to go sprint again. And I think that's so important

Ryan Rutan: to the point about the roof being on fire. One of the things I want to point out there is that often times what seems like a roof fire in the moment ends up just not being that critical. We talked about this once before and I don't remember seeing the podcast. It's just you and I shooting the ship at some point. But we talked about the fact that sometimes what looks like a big problem at the moment, if you just don't have time to deal with it, right, then goes away on its own. And of course not all problems go away on their own and certainly products don't build themselves. But there's often the case that we end up running and chasing after something that we think is really critical or important, whether it's a problem or it's an objective. I'm going back to the notion that sometimes pace can mislead you right? If you're moving too fast to really understand what's going on, you end up chasing the wrong probably end up making more out of a problem than it really is and you end up spending energy that you really didn't need to or at least the amount of energy at that time that you didn't need to. And I think that's something that take some time to get to right.

Wil Schroter: I don't know that people understand that you only have a fixed amount of energy. I think it's why we keep going back to these physical versions where people are winded. I think especially in the early days, especially if we're young, we get the sense that we have so much energy and we can just keep sprinting forever. It always catches up with you. And the whole point of this particular episode is to say, you just can't keep doing it as much as it feels great in the beginning, you can't keep doing it. And this reminds me of like I'm going to torture one more marathon analogy, probably when I did my first triathlon and it wasn't like a real trial, I thought it was a sprint triathlon. I'm that good of shape. I remember as soon as the gun went off, it started with a run, I go literally sprinting out right and there's 1200 people there and I'm like probably in the top 20 people coming out of that and I'm like, man, I must be much better than these guys. That old geezer that was standing next to me, blowing his doors in, you know, pumped up on adrenaline And dude, not even a third of the way into it, I'm slowing down, right, An old geezer just comes sliding right by me and I'm calling him a geezer is probably the same age, I am now, but you know, the funny thing is I didn't understand how to to set pace. So you know, I didn't end up doing that. Well, old guy knew exactly how to set pace and that's why he sailed right by me. What I'd love to see more founders understand is how are you setting your pace? I'd love to see more founders say, Hey man, I'm running at a good pace. And I'd say, how's your health, has your sleep, how you know, how's your, your stress? And they're like, well, you know, startup. So it exists. But here's what I'm doing to kind of correct for that to counterbalance and to be able to set a pace. So I can be around for 10 years, which by the way, is how long this takes if it's successful. Incidentally failure happens a lot faster. So the good news is that you won't be in that race for very long,

Ryan Rutan: right? Yeah. They won't take them too many labs for it to run past them. Well, the good news is here. You know, I have actually developed a, an entire training program around being able to understand that a, you do have a limit and exactly where your limit of energy is. It's a fairly well adopted program at this point, it's called parenthood. So if you do think you have limitless energy and and can go all day and and go all night and, and still say you just have a child and you will realize your trainer in the world. Absolutely,

Wil Schroter: you know, Ryan, there's another side of this that I think is really interesting. We keep talking about the founders pacing themselves, right? And we need to talk about our own stories, but incidentally, that's actually not the biggest problem here. The biggest problem is setting the pace for the rest of the organizations because we may be forgetting that, you know, we're just an army of one. We have all these team members and we're expecting them to maintain a pace in a productive output for a long period of time. But if we don't set the pace, if we keep running them through the ground and we're still expecting them to be around for 57, 10 years in order to see this thing through, we're actually shooting the whole organization in the foot. So I think we should talk a little bit about what we can do to kind of define pace, show others that pacing does matter and maybe get people a little bit prepped for how long this thing's gonna take. What do you think?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, no, I think, I think the, I think the preparation for how long it's gonna take is an important one. I think having that conversation with people is is important because it's not just a matter of, I don't think it's just a matter of setting the right pace for the founder and then saying, okay, that will also be the right pace for everybody else. It's a very individual thing, right? It depends on the type of role that they're in. Is it grind work? Is it heavily creative writer there? Is it ebbs and flows? Is their seasonality to it? Because not everybody's roles are the same and not everybody's energy is the same

Wil Schroter: or commitment, you know, not every these commitments the same kind of very different commitment level than everybody

Ryan Rutan: else. That's exactly it. And so I think there's a danger in even if the founder sets a pace that's reasonable for them, that may not be reasonable for everybody else. And I think that's something we have to consider. There's a little bit of good news here. Generally speaking, I think it's far easier to recognize when your team and when the people around you are over their toes on pace. Like I think it's easier to lean back and say like that guy is running too fast out of the gate and I can see that everyone else around him is not running as fast. He's going to gas himself out, right. That I think we can use that to our advantage in terms of if we're observant enough and we're paying enough attention to to our team, we can say, you know, and again, it's not, I don't think, I guess we could look at that too. It's interesting. I've never really thought about it in terms of like a team pace. I tend to think of pace as an individual thing.

Wil Schroter: That's why I was bringing up. Yeah, but as leaders, we set the pace,

Ryan Rutan: we set the pace right because people downstream can't necessarily do that right? Or they may not know they can do that. And we talk about permission a lot on the show and I think this is another one of those areas where they have to have permission to run at a speed that's healthy for them. And I think that that does take some work. But again, I think that it is easier to see that in others than it is in yourself. I think it's easier to run past your own pace because you just don't have that perspective, right? If you can't look back and see, gosh, I'm running twice as fast as everybody else. I wonder why that is, but when you're looking at, you know, a group of individuals, you can typically tell when one of them is kind of over their toes on that.

Wil Schroter: Well. Okay, so we'll play that out. I'm gonna put this on the DEv team because it's always the dev team that that gets, it seems to get crunched the most. We go to the DEv team, We say we've got to get this shipped, you know, uh, we're gonna work crazy hours, nights and weekends, all this stuff because often the ship date is kind of when the major milestone of us being able to sell anything even happens and so we do so Dev team goes crazy, you know, other product teams are all connected and everybody's, you know, doing sleepless nights if as leadership, we don't take stock of the fact that we just created a huge debt to the organization debt in the form of, we took all this energy away from this team right to get this done with no plan to pay it back and there's so many ways to pay it back, right? I'm not just talking about like you're giving somebody a bonus or something like that, giving somebody some time off some recognition, some indication that at the end of this we're going to switch pace so that you can catch your breath for a while, even just making that clear that that's even on the table is so powerful. Leaving it unset is the problem and I think that's usually where it lands

Ryan Rutan: Yeah and I think yeah, leaving unsaid is, is really dangerous. I think that even stating it and I think it does take some level of almost forcing or enforcing, we've done this before, right? We've told people to take some time off, I was talking to a company yesterday and they just came through their peak season. They, and they are very seasonal company and they are actually now forcing about 30% of their staff to take days off here and there and then they're not saying we're not gonna count as vacation time, they're just saying like okay on Tuesday 1 30 staff is gonna be off on Wednesday another third and on on thursday the 3rd 3rd and just to get some down time just to let these people breathe a little bit. And I think it's really important. I think it was a very good move on their part because you know, if you just say like you leave it in the hands of folks, there's all sorts of reasons that that can be problematic. Nobody wants to be the first one, right? Like to admit that. Oh yeah, man, that, that was really tough. Gosh, take me out coach, right? Nobody wants to be that player. And so I think that being very aware of this at the leadership level and ensuring that you're doing what you can up into the point of forcing people to take some down time is critical.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I agree. And I think part of what we're saying here and and for founders listening to this for leaders listening to this, what I want you to at least hopefully consider is the fact that understanding how to pace the organization, which comes from us, which comes from leadership is as valuable as understanding how to drive the organization, Right? So as leaders were able to say, I'm able to run my, my team to 100 hours a week, okay, Maybe that's good or bad. But if you're also able to say, I know how to refresh my team, I know how to make sure that my team is rested, that their, their heads are back in it and we're ready to go full sprint again. That's the mark of a seasoned founder to me, that's the mark of a founder that understands the long game here. And this happens Ryan, this happens with our team. Noah and I are creative director, worked very closely together on all the product uX on some campaigns and different things, Right? But we're also very cognizant that between the two of us, there's some level at which our creative juice just runs out. And we've gotten to the point now when I can just tell our back and forth isn't quite working, I'll just say, hey man, we're at that point and noah, literally the next day will just take two weeks off,

Ryan Rutan: right, just go do

Wil Schroter: anything else. And I've said the same to you like a couple of times a year, I'll just stop and like, dude, I'm fried, I'm gonna take a week off and I'm just gonna go build stuff in my workshop, just gonna do something that has nothing to do with what we're doing because I want to be able to perform at my peak. I want to be able to sprint. But I also need to be able to pace that or I'm not gonna be able to do anything and we've got a whole bunch of podcasts that, that's exactly what happens when you try to stay in full sprint mode forever. It ends horribly.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, you can't always be playing the super Bowl, right? There's a build up to that and there's a recovery from that right? There. There has to be some give and take in this entire thing. Otherwise it, it does just uh, fall apart. Right? And I was thinking that the marathon analogy is a nice one. You said something about, they have to know how fast to drive. And I started thinking about it in terms of like Formula one Grand Prix-type racing, we're not just going in a circle. So it's not just about finding that optimal speed that you sort of maintain, there's cornering, there's all these other things and that there's an appropriate pace and, and there's a pace at which it's, it's reckless or dangerous, like too slow, too fast. And so to your comment about the experience founder, I think that's really where that shows that it's not just knowing where to go when to turn, its, knowing the velocity at which to do these things. And I think that is the hallmark of a really good founder. It's not just understanding the path, but understanding the pace that's appropriate for the point in the path, right? Because

Wil Schroter: sometimes you get, so there's also a check in, right a couple of years ago, I remember having done this with a lot of the folks in the organization essentially a sit down check in which was like, hey guys, this is just a couple years ago we're passing like the five year mark, you've been here the whole time, are you good for another five years? Yeah, that's a big question, but it's a question people just generally don't get asked Right meaning, Hey, we're five laps in and we got, you know, five laps to go, maybe 20. Are you good? It's more like, hey, I'm just going to keep running into the abyss in hopes that at some point this is the end of the race. I think when you check in with folks, number one is just the right thing to do. You're just basically saying, hey, I care enough about you to find out where your head is at. By the way, pretty good time to find out. The answer is no, okay man, I was in this for five years. I thought we'd sell by now. I feel like, you know, there's some broken promises here and my head's elsewhere. Boy, that's useful information to pull out of the out of the discussion. Like kind of

Ryan Rutan: now there's your half metal marathon, go home. And I just like

Wil Schroter: not everybody understands how long this races and not everybody's willing to suit up for that long. And that's fair again, it's, it's, it's not for everyone.

Ryan Rutan: And for some people, it is a job, right? Even just because people were there from the beginning, I don't think indicates that they need to be there until the end and we've had this discussion in a number of different ways, but oftentimes that founding team isn't appropriate for the second half of the race right there either out skilled at that point or their skill sets really do lend themselves well towards really early stage stuff where things are a bit more flexible and fast paced. Maybe that's just how they like to play. And so yes, I don't think it's the case that we need to assume that everybody is going to be there for the entire race and that's okay too.

Wil Schroter: You touched on something that I really liked our jobs change over time and I'll even speak to the founder when I was doing my first company. My job for the first five years was really awesome because it was creating everything from scratch. Everything was a problem. But I liked it because it was a challenge. My job for the rest of the years was just being a manager of a big company. I hated it. So if someone were to say to me totally right, if someone would say to me, hey man, year five, you're now a manager, We have hundreds of people and all you do is go into meetings about meetings, are you down with this for another five years? I was like, hell no. That says the ceo, that's all part of the pacing though. That's all part of the saying, guess what? There's a point where this transitions, you know, there's a point where where Mark Zuckerberg isn't the startup kid anymore. He's the Ceo of a major Fortune 500 company, are you down for that? Maybe he is? Maybe he's not, but I think all of that is part of not only the pacing but the evolution that comes with that pacing, you know, not every replacement bodies. I think it's a fair question to have, I think a smart season founder or one that's, you know, listening to to a show like this and trying to kind of get ahead of all this understands that there's a pace that that both they and their team need to meet and maintain in order to see this thing through to the end. In the end to me could be multiple things could be the sale or IPO that's just one end. It could be profitability. It could be to the point where the product we're working on is our dream job, right? Whatever that shangri la end is, it takes a long time to get there. We've got to make sure everybody's on board.

Ryan Rutan: That's a wrap for this episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan on behalf of my partner Wil Schroder and all the startups dot com family thanking you for joining us and we hope you'll continue to join us. Be sure to subscribe rate and comment on itunes or wherever you love to listen to startup therapy, you can find all of our episodes at startups dot com slash podcast if you're looking for more amazing resources to launch or grow your startup, be sure to head to startups dot com and check out startups unlimited. It's everything we have to offer, from our online university to our amazing community of experts and founders and even all the tools we've built like biz plan, fungible and launch rock. It's everything a founder needs visit startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash b e G I N. You'll thank me later.

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